The Ten Healthiest States in the Nation: Do You Live in The #1 State?
It's official for the year. A list of the top 10 healthiest states in the nation has been published for 2011 by the United Health Foundation in its report on America's Health. And if you live south of the 40th parallel, you won't like what you'll read.
New England outranked the Mid West, West and South with six of its states falling into the healthiest category. The winner was Vermont in first place again for the second time. The state was 20th in 1990 but Vermonters wouldn't have any of it and since then, Vermont's rankings have steadily moved up into first position over the last 13 years from a ranking of 17th in 1997 and 1998.
Vermont’s number one position is impressive because it includes all the health determinants combined. The state ranks in the top 10 for "a high rate of high school graduation, a low violent crime rate, a low rate of infectious disease, a high usage of early prenatal care, high per capita public health funding, a low rate of uninsured population and ready availability of primary care physicians," according to the United Health Foundation report. Vermont does face challenges, though. They are " low immunization coverage with 91.2 percent of children ages 19 to 35 months receiving recommended immunizations, relatively high occupational fatalities at 4.3 deaths per 100,000 workers and a high prevalence of binge drinking at 17.1 percent of the population," percentages all listed in Vermont’s state snapshot .
Sister state New Hampshire, always competitive with Vermont, managed to rank second, moving up a spot and pushing down Connecticut. However, to its credit, New Hampshire has ranked in the top 10 states every year of the index. Connecticut is number three, followed by Hawaii and Massachusetts. The other two New England states, Maine and Rhode Island joined the Mid Western Utah, Colorado and Minnesota, rounding out the top 10 stars. Unlike the shining, vibrant coastal East, the coastal West slumped into a downward trend.
Again, Mississippi is the least healthy state at 50th and Louisiana is 49th. Oklahoma, Arkansas and Alabama complete the bottom five states. Once more sectionally the South doesn't do well; maybe those lard fried turkeys, hush puppies, fried oysters, fried chicken, ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and gumbo and rice have got to go!Continued on the next page